Sighing just a little bit, smiling just a little bit.

Weeks, months pass by in a flash, or so it seems anyway. I have had yet another break from writing here, not because I do not train or cook or maintain whatever needs to be maintained outside of here. My reason for not being here, is mainly due to the battle I am currently fighting with my own body, my own hormones and Hashimoto’s. And I do not like to complain, I do not like to whine about my situation because I know that many, many, many have it so much worse. That way too many beautiful souls are busy fighting battles far, far worse than the one that is occupying my life. And despite my current struggles, I am lucky, I truly am. Because I have normal energy levels, I can train, stay up late (ish, I have never been an evening/night person) concentrate and do amazingly well at my studies and simply enjoy life to the fullest. And I am tremendously grateful for that, I truly am. Yet, I cannot wish for anything else but finding out exactly what it is that is wrong in my body. What it is that is causing me problems and then treat it, if treatable. The peace of mind to know, in times like this, I believe it to be the most important key to peace of mind. To find out and become aware. To attain needed information and be able to process it all. These are the current thoughts running through my mind, when my new doctor interprets recent test results, wrinkles his forehead and gently says ‘you are an odd case indeed’. And I cannot do anything but smile, because in truth, I have never done anything by half measures. It has always been about all or nothing, so I see no reason to why my potential Hashimoto’s related problem would be anything but extraordinary. Its just the way my life seem to be, and that is okay. I just need to know.

So I have spent the past month seeing my doctor and the nurses on numerous occasions, my arms have been battered and blue from all the different blood tests. Several potential problems have been knocked off the list, some which disappeared with a huge sigh or relive and some I am awaiting results for next week. And within those tests some of the worst nightmares reside, some conditions that many peoples worst nightmares are made of. So we will see, what next week will bring forth. Ever the optimist I still hope that it will be something good, that even if bad appears among the news, that something good will come out of it. That somehow, in that potential curtain of darkness a ray of light will shine through. And till then, I will keep on running, hitting those paths with a mix of gentle fury and delight. I will keep on lifting in the gym, growing stronger, pushed by my newly hired personal trainer and I will continue to enjoy the silence of November and the darkness in- and of the forest. Tall and green, breathing calmness all over my entire being and through everything that I am.

Sunday Confession | To push yourself or not.

This has been one crazy week, training wise I have been fine – better than fine actually as I had my best run to date on Thursday. Legs were in perfect symbiosis with the heart and lungs and I felt as if I could have gone on forever, and I almost did. Until I remembered that I have very little to gain from that, and the importance of keeping to my original plan and as such hopefully stay away from unesessary injuries. My boyfriend and I often speak of this as he has much more of an ‘all in’ kind of personality, whereas I prefer to plan, research and I much rather take baby steps than jump in at the deep end. Though I realise that sometimes a gentle push into the deep end before you feel fully prepared is the right way to go, I do find it quite difficult to push myself at times. Or rather, to know when exactly it is the right moment to do so and when its time to hold back. I often think about how I as a former equestrian had to prepare both myself and the horse for the jump, how absolutely everything had to be carefully calculated. Every step approaching the obstacle was counted for, the pace and intensity was controlled and the intention of what was about to happen was introduced to the horse with the help of my own body, how I distributed my weight and movements. It is that very knowledge I am looking for in my current training, to simply know when to hold back and sit steady in the boat and when to bring up the sails and go full speed ahead. I suppose that it is as with everything else in life, with extended experience – deeper knowledge and understanding is also gained.

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But in all honesty, are we not all searching for the perfect balance in our lives? I certainly am, and for most part I must say that I have found it. Or rather, I have come to the conclusion that perhaps there isn’t a balance that is ongoing forever-ever, but instead a deeper, inner balance that is apparent in a more subtle way such as how we choose to handle mundane everyday situations. With this in mind, I suppose that it at times may be a-ok to keep on running some of those days when my body whispers ‘its ok, we can handle it‘. To allow myself to trust my body, though I am battling it (the Hashimoto bit) at the moment – I should still allow myself to believe that though my body may be troublesome it is also capable of creating those marvellous moments of magical ‘runners high’. And for that I am tremendously grateful.

How do You approach the concept of pushing yourself? Do you trust your body to hold it together just because your mind says so? Do you jump in with both feet first at the deep end or do you prefer a slow start with the ever so helpful inflatables? If you have the time, feel free to leave me a comment with your thoughts on this subject.

Breakfast and Beetroot Juice.

Sunday, and I started my morning with a lovely breakfast and some beetroot juice. Must say that I had a rather lazy morning actually, much deserved after yesterdays kickboxing and static strength exercises. I love that kind of exhaustion that happens after a tough workout. I don’t think I ever feel so alive as I do during the full on, give it all I have circuits when my breathing is ‘heavy’ and theres a constant river of sweat dripping off my forearms, chin and forehead. I love it. Though I currently train to beat Hashimoto’s I would never and have never trained for the sole reason to get or be fit. I train because I love it, because its a part of me as much as I wish to be a part of it. The energy boost I am granted during and after training is fantastic. And the satisfaction of going to bed later on in the evening and have the best sleep ever due to my body being at peace is gold. Simply gold.

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Anyway, this morning I felt like giving my body a bit of a nutrition boost, not that I feel ill or anything I just like to keep my immune-system on its toes. Much needed when you suffer from an under-active thyroid as well, since it is an autoimmune disease and anything and everything you can do to help your body out in these situations is a good thing. Though I don’t use juicing as a mean of ‘weight control’ I still swear by the many benefits it has for your body (not to mention the enhancement of your bowel movements if you have problems in that area) as you get to consume large amount of vegetables, fruit, berries in the many different juices.

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Love the gorgeous color of the beetroot, fresh and vivid. I prefer to buy them ‘raw’ like this and peel them myself instead of buying them ‘prepared’. This way I know exactly whats been done to them, i.e absolutely nothing. Just the way I like it. I also believe that the whole point with juicing is to use fresh products, which is something I cannot get my head around when it comes to the current ‘smoothie’-trend. So many people seem to use frozen (packaged) products, something I would not really want to do if I could avoid it. However, I am not big into smoothies so perhaps there is something to it that I simply don’t get. As of now, I much prefer juicing as it is an excellent way to boost my body with plenty of nutritious benefits from raw vegetables and fruit.

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If you find it difficult to stomach the ‘earthy‘ taste of the beetroot (I did to begin with) then you can add a lemon in the mix. My experience is that it neutralise the overly earthy taste quite well. And I suppose most people know how fantastic lemon juice is for the body – yum – unfortunately not so awesome for our teeth so should be consumed with some caution for sure.

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So this is just about what I put into my beetroot juice, sometimes I add celery as well or any other green veggie, but as I didn’t have any at home today this had to do. I will also eat a very green lunch today so will most definitely get enough green vegetables in my body.

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Some of the finished product, don’t you just love the popping color? Not only the color is beautiful, the taste was as well and I am sure my body thanks me for the many health benefits. To borrow a slogan from Marks & Spencer, this juice is certainly… one that wows!

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Accompanying my juice I also had a lovely breakfast, scrambled eggs, cherry tomatoes and some avocado – would have loved a bit more that, but it was a tad too ripe unfortunately. August can be a bit tricky when it comes to keeping vegetables and fruit. I always seem to forget and keep on purchasing the same amount and then have to make the most odd food combinations because I really don’t want to have to throw anything out. Anyway, I hope you all are having a lovely Sunday – I am heading out for a run later on tonight, fingers crossed it will be a fabulous one!

If you cannot eat the rainbow, at least eat your veggies.

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Simply cannot get enough of this dish at the moment. So ridiculously simple, so tremendously good. You have seen it all before, cherry tomatoes, yellow pepper, leek, courgette, aubergine, sun-dried tomatoes and once finished topped with some low-fat feta cheese. Heavenly good.

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I have spent a good amount of time at the gym today, focusing on legs mainly. It was very busy, which is rather unusual during the summer but it was a ‘nice kind of busy’ if you know what I mean. People were focusing on their training and simply channeling that kind of ‘good’ workout energy. Normally I prefer to train alone, unless its with a Personal Trainer, but I love the company of other gym members. I love to learn from watching the super-fit people, the talented lifters and the splendid runners. They all serve as fabulous inspiration and motivation in my own fitness journey. But I also adore the beginners, the sometimes careful and insecure ones that seem to want to disappear into the walls when the machines make odd noises or when they cannot figure something out. And I love the many seniors, sometimes strong as oxes and more often than not they outrun me on the treadmill without breaking a sweat. I love the gym-family, when it is a good one. And I happen to be a member of a gym that has a lovely down to earth attitude, professional staff that also take the time to get to know you as well as carefully looked after machines and training areas. After all, the gym does serve as my second home, and it is important to me that it is a place where I as well as everyone else who spend time there, feel equally welcome.

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Anyway, post gym, I always want to eat something quick and healthy. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I tend to eat lighter during the day so a vegetable-based lunch is all I need really. I don’t feel the need to add another protein source, except for the feta cheese, as I hit my protein goals just fine every day. However, please note that I cannot be used as a general example of how you should eat, my diet is carefully controlled by my general practitioner due to my Hashimoto. If you struggle with weight loss or if you simply want to know what diet would suit you best, I recommend you to contact a professional (dietician, nutritionist or your GP) for adequate advice.

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It has been a lovely break to write this entry, but time flies and I have to get back to my psychology books for a bit. August is here and my next study year will ‘unofficially’ open up in September so it’s about time to get properly started now. This summer has disappeared in a heartbeat really, but somehow I still feel quite energised and happy and ready to take on another year. My second last one, kind of mind boggling to be honest, halfway there and through plenty of hard work and determination I have managed to get distinctions only up to this point. Hopefully it will be a lasting trend, I would love to finish with a first!

A small update.

Last week passed by in a flash! I managed to squeeze in a few runs and gym, but the weekend was spent celebrating my boyfriends birthday. As such it was a very busy but lovely week and I must say that we had a fabulous time celebrating in the weekend. Lovely weather and plenty of sun (30 degrees) most definitely helped to perk up the mood even more than usual. Perhaps not the most pleasant weather to train in for a Scandinavian polar bear like myself, but I have solved it by getting out of bed insanely early and do somewhat of a ‘sleepwalking run’. Haha, not really, luckily I am an avid morning person and really enjoy heading out in the early morning when the streets are empty and silent. Of course it makes me terribly sleepy in the evening, but that is a price I happily pay. Theres nothing like starting the day with exercise and get that boost of energy straight on, I love it.

If last week was a success, this week had a rather depressing start as I went to my general practitioners office and have now been told to book an appointment with an endocrinologist (at last!) since my general practitioner finally realised that he cannot solve my thyroid problem. Though it makes me rather sad that I have had to wait for a year to get this referral I am still happy that it has now become a reality. However, I also handed in new blood tests where the normal levels will be checked (T3 + free, T4 + free, TSH etc) but also diabetes type 2. This, because my medical doctor told me, for some reason, a year ago that type 2 diabetes had been checked when it in fact had not. Rather shocking right? I actually cannot begin to express how utterly upset I am about this. It is a huge deal, not only because I am not keen on having yet another lifelong diagnosis, but also because I have seen first hand how horrible type 2 diabetes can be.

Additionally, my medical doctor has had over a year to sort out my thyroid problem OR refer me to specialists and still nothings happened until I went to see my doctor on Monday and by chance ended up seeing a different doctor at the same office whom was shocked and rather appalled that I had not been told to see an endocrinologist and an eye doctor. Apparently all thyroid patients should at least once consult these two specialists once diagnosed with hypothyroidism (and Hashimotos) to make sure everything is alright. So yes, I have in vain (when it comes to weight loss, not when it comes to general health of course!) spent a whole year fighting super hard to lose weight though I obviously have an extremely sleepy metabolism. Not only does it make me cross because the lack of weight loss due to my thyroid medication not being on pointe, increase the potential of developing type 2 diabetes, but also because I really want to get back to my old self again. Additionally, as my boyfriend usually says, ‘it must be horrendous to put in all the hard work, train, eat health consciously, never drink alcohol (not that it is must but you know what I mean!) and never be able to reap the benefits of all that hard work’. And that is exactly it, its easy to lose motivation and heart when you do absolutely everything you can but at the same time over and over be let down by the very institutions that is supposed to care about your wellbeing, efforts and sacrifices made to become well. Hopefully I will get the right kind of help in September when I get to see a specialist for the first time. But for now; Bring on tomorrow, bring on the verdict and give me strength to embrace it no matter what it may turn out to be.

Vegetarian lunch and Hashimoto thoughts.

Sunny day and I have just enjoyed a lovely and quite light lunch. I suppose that it is no secret anymore that I adore spinach and try to eat it as often as I possibly can. However, as most Hashimoto sufferers I have to be a tad careful since it may cause the thyroid to act up and that is definitely very bad. A much annoying thing about having an underactive thyroid (and Hashimotos) is that there seem to be one million different advice to be found, and not many are based on scientific evidence and as such it is impossible to know which ones to trust. Therefore I tend to pick and mix the information as I please, I love spinach and I eat it within moderation and most of the time I cook it (it is supposed to decrease the negative effect on the thyroid) instead of eating it raw. I do envy everyone that does not have to think about all these things when cooking and eating, but these are the cards I have been dealt and I have decided that I am going to beat this thing. And by beating it, I mean making my body work with me again instead of against me, and I believe the path to achieve this balance is by healthy and fabulous food.

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Sometimes I eat this for breakfast as well as I quite enjoy warm lasting food in the morning. However, as most people know, when you base most part of your meal on vegetables and fruit the calorie numbers remain very low (I still count, since my thyroid isn’t under control yet) and you are free to indulge in food more often during the day and yet never get that ‘heavy’ feeling in your stomach. Saying this I also feel compelled to mention that ‘portion size’ of course need to be within reason no matter what. Because even if this kind of food isn’t calorie dense, the portion size still effects your physical body (stomach size) as well as psychological factors such as behavioural patterns and triggers to ‘over eat’. I believe that finding and remaining within the correct portion-size for yourself, is very much a modern day problem. Many people, including normal weight individuals, have lost much of the ability to recognise genuine feelings of hunger and the notion to stop eating when feeling sated and not full, i.e knowing your portion size.

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Anyway, back to this gorgeous lunch of mine! So, I start with washing the fresh spinach (about 110 gram) thoroughly, this is important because even though I shop from a local fruit and vegetable shop that solely deal with local farmers, it is still safe to assume that the veggies I purchase have been handled by quite a few people before it ends up in my kitchen. Additionally, washing raw spinach is also recommended when you are dealing with fresh spinach because I guarantee that there will be a bit of gritty sand and occasionally some happy caterpillars, don’t fret this is a good sign really(!), but you may want to set the little beasties free instead of making them a part of your meal.

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After I have washed the spinach I usually chop off the longer stems as I find that they tend to get a bit to stringy and I don’t enjoy that much. Personal preference, really – once that is done, I start frying the spinach and after a couple of minutes I add some fresh chunky chopped cherry tomatoes (about 40 gram). What is not shown in these photos is that I also add some raw broccoli (left over from yesterdays tea, about 60 gram) which have been lightly blended, heated and seasoned with half a lemon, gorgeous! And lastly I added two eggs for some protein, this can of course be exchanged for tofu or any other protein source if you would like to keep the meal vegan instead of vegetarian.

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Lastly, the finished product, perhaps not the most lovely looking meal of them all – but to me, this tastes like a little bit of heaven. I love how the raw somewhat ‘harsh’ and fresh taste of the lemony broccoli beautifully complements the much sweeter taste of the cherry tomatoes. I usually add a few raw (cold) tomatoes too as they bring out the flavours even more. I don’t tend to use any additional spices or so for this meal as I like the raw taste, but I am sure that it could be tweaked in many ways. I am by no means a master chef, quite the opposite, I have only just begun my adventures in the kitchen. So feel free to leave a comment below if you have suggestions or ideas.

My health battle, Hashimotos Thyroiditis and a nonsensical GP.

During the past months I have tried to come to terms with the fact that my thyroid simply won’t cooperate. It saddens me to realise that it will take a whole lot of effort to make my body once again work with me instead of against me. Not only am I disappointed with my medical doctor (I am in the progress of changing GP and seeking advice from an endocrinologist instead) who have been taking me for a ride for almost a year and at my latest appointment told me that I was perfectly fine while analysing the wrong data. Rather shocking to say the least! Luckily I have several medical doctors in my immediate family whom advised me to move on and see a specialist instead. To be fair, for some health related problems general practitioners are fantastic and I have received top-notch private medical care in Germany up till this point. But since it is vital that my thyroid (and affiliated) health problems are monitored  properly I simply do not want to take any chances.

Additionally, since mid November last year till February this year I fought incredibly hard to drop weight (since I need to!) knowing that my metabolism is extremely slow, I was advised to stick to a calorie intake of 1200 cals/day and train as per usual, meaning going to the gym 3-4 times per week and walk/jog around 7-10 km in hilly areas the rest of the days. During this time, I measured and weighed all my food, calculated everything to a tee, did not drink any alcohol (I rarely do anyway) and still I only managed to drop a bit over 3kg at the end of it. In other words, less than 1kg per month. When mentioning this to my GP he told me that it was perfectly normal (!) and on top of it all exactly what they recommend their patients to lose in a month when engaging in a weight-loss. Do I need to tell you that these comments left me absolutely speechless? I guess not. It is certainly NOT normal to lose that low amount of weight when you fight so hard for it and when you have quite a bit of weight to drop as well. I would have bought his argument if I was very close to my goal weight, but I am not. Naturally I questioned my GP about this statement of his, and of course he became very defensive and started to quiz me on when exactly during the day that I usually eat (le sigh) and when I said that I eat at normal hours he instead tried to tell me (not ask, but actually TELL me) that I surely must drink sugary drinks and that I should be aware of the calories in those. I mean, seriously? I never drink sugary drinks and never have! I do eat fruit however, but not without carefully calculating it. Safe to say, I have had it with my GP at this point, he is not only incompetent (evident of the lack of accuracy when interpreting my test results) but also lack the ability to speak to his patients without dropping derogatory comments. Two things I simply do not think that I as a client should have to put up with when interacting with medical professionals whom most definitely should know better.

So, it has been awfully silent here on 365evermore, and I am terribly sorry about that. But I have not only been battling my GP I have also been extremely busy (still am) with my psychology studies. However, to remain motivated and to keep on going with my training and healthy lifestyle I realised that I definitely need to continue to update here. It sort of helps me to stay on point and think twice before I try to dodge a gym session or when the temptation of less healthy choices enters my everyday. Because yes, it happens and yes sometimes I fail and sometimes that is okay, it is the danger of these failures becoming a habit that I am desperately trying to avoid.

Last but not least, I hope all of you are exceptionally well, I promise to produce a much more upbeat update with some lovely photos the next time. Stay tuned lovelies! ♡

Enjoying the weather and changing focus!

Truly beautiful weather today and I have enjoyed it to the max! Started the day with a morning walk in moderate pace, enjoying the views, wildlife (I am obsessed with birds in case you did not know already) and gently waking up my mind, body and metabolism. Well, the latter a bit more questionable but one can hope right? More about this later on in this post, anyway, the weather you guys – stunning, simply stunning! Not much of a December feel to it, but the leftover cold from the night still managed to squeeze out -2 degrees at 10am and add to that perfectly clear air, I simply could not ask for more!

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Today I walked outside the Botanical Gardens and you see these cute signs making pedestrians but perhaps more important cyclists aware of the toads that every year risk their lives crossing the walk and cycle path to reach the breeding grounds. At some point I will record the toads ‘singing’ for you during the mating season, it is heartwarmingly beautiful! Perhaps not for everyone but then again, I am a wildlife nutter and easily impressed by things like that. Version 2Version 2

Despite enjoying the weather and the walk, I must admit that I have had a bit of a rough patch as of late. I saw my medical doctor the last week and found out that my thyroid levels were worse (which explains the horrible headache and “sore/tired” eyes) despite medication so I have now had to up my dosage hoping it will kick it back into the right gear. Admittedly it is a bit of a downer to struggle with under-function in my thyroid while at the same time trying to achieve a weight loss. Let us just say that it is more or less an impossible equation unfortunately.

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However, I prefer to view things on the positive side (I also have fantastic support from my boyfriend and family) and have therefore decided to forget about the weight loss journey for a bit and instead put all my focus and effort into increasing my fitness levels. It may sound a bit odd since one naturally leads to another, but not necessarily in my case due to my metabolism being more or less non existent. To give you an example, at this point due to my screwed up thyroid and metabolism, I would have to stay below 600 calories a day to achieve a weight loss and that would still be heavily dependant on me being quite active (hikes, gym, running etc). So no, I am removing myself from ‘hitting that very agonising and stressful wall’ again and again and instead shifting focus to fitness, cardio and muscle building. The idea is to keep my heart happy by keeping at the cardio (hikes, jogging, rowing) and build a strong muscle frame that eventually, when the medication dosage hit the right levels, will help my body to burn through the excessive weight in a heartbeat. That is my plan anyway, I refuse to give up and ‘wait it out’ because hitting the right dosage can take up to a year and I simply do not have that kind of time on my hands. Keep your fingers crossed for me pretty please, I have a feeling I might need it! ♡

A brand new situation.

Summer does not seem to be my time of the year to remain healthy. Or rather, perhaps it is the time of the year when I finally relax and shift focus to fully examine how I am actually doing. Cut to the chase, today I have been diagnosed with a low functioning thyroid (Hashimotos thyroiditis). And as much as I would like to not have this chronic disease, I am also a bit relieved. This feeling since I have for quite some time tried to understand why my training and often carefully calculated food intake has not had a bigger impact on my weight-loss. Now it all of a sudden makes perfect sense. It also makes me a bit cross with former PT’s who basically had a go at me and telling me that that I was “lying” about my food intake due to lack of results. I would like to make it known that it really should be in a personal trainers interest to thourougly learn about different reasons (be in physical or psychological) to why some people may be struggling to lose weight and their reasons for being overweight. After all, I used to pay a lot of money for my PT sessions, but I am going to leave that rant for another blog post as I have quite a bit to say about personal trainers and their way of dealing with clients.

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Anyway, at the moment I have been given pills that will help correct my hormone levels and kickstart my body back into motion. Hopefully this will also mean that once my medical doctor have found the right medication level (it has to be monitored through blood testing etc) for my body, I should be able to lose weight more efficiently if I put in the work. All in all I am looking forward to mending this thyriod problem, it is of course not only because potential weight-loss but more importantly for correcting any problems linked to the adrenal glands and other bodily functions in my body. A bit more scary though is that I still have to do another scan of my throat (did ultrasound today) to make sure that there are no knots causing additional problems. So fingers crossed everything will be a-ok!